Every Finalist Queen on 'RuPaul's Drag Race' & Their Track Records

Every Finalist Queen on 'RuPaul's Drag Race' & Their Track Records

These queens made it to the very top of their ‘Drag Race’ seasons.

Roxxxy Andrews; Kim Chi; Lady Camden

Logo TV/VH1

After going through so many challenges that involve acting, writing, singing, dancing, comedy, improv, design, sewing, modeling, and branding, it’s a landmark achievement for any drag performer to reach the grand finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Seasons one through eight, which aired on Logo TV, had Drag Race finales consisting of a top three. With the introduction of the lip sync for the crown smackdown format in season nine, Drag Race finales started to include a top four. The only exception during the show’s VH1 era was season 14, which featured a top five instead.

With the move to MTV, fans wondered if the season 15 finale format would be changed in any significant way. Now that we’ve got an official lineup of finalists for season 15, it’s time to look back at every single Drag Race queen who made it to the grand finale and check out their track records.

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 airs Fridays on MTV.

BeBe Zahara Benet (Season 1 Winner)

\u200bBeBe Zahara Benet

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BeBe Zahara Benet became the first-ever winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race after winning two maxi challenges and only landing in the bottom two once. During that sole lip sync for her life, Benet sent Ongina home.

Nina Flowers (Season 1)

Nina Flowers

Logo TV

Nina Flowers got to the finale of Drag Race season one without ever landing in the bottom. In turn, Flowers won a maxi challenge in the competition and was considered a fan-favorite.

Rebecca Glasscock (Season 1)

Rebecca Glasscock

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Despite lip syncing for her life twice and only winning one maxi challenge, Rebecca Glasscock clawed her way to the finale of season one alongside Benet and Flowers.

James Ross a.k.a. Tyra Sanchez (Season 2 Winner)

Tyra Sanchez

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James Ross competed as Tyra Sanchez on the second season of Drag Race and ultimately snatched the crown. Throughout the competition, the queen won three maxi challenges and never landed in the bottom two.

Jujubee (Season 2)


Logo TV

Jujubee got to the season two finale without winning a maxi challenge but having lip synced for her life three times. Overall, Jujubee sent home Sahara Davenport, Pandora Boxx, and Tatianna.

Raven (Season 2)


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Raven won two maxi challenges on the show: a branding challenge that revolved around autobiographies, and the makeover challenge. Meanwhile, Raven also had two bottom placements prior to reaching the finale.

Raja (Season 3 Winner)


Logo TV

Raja won one of the most competitive seasons in Drag Race herstory given that all of the season three finalists had similar track records. Overall, Raja won three maxi challenges and only landed in the bottom two once.

Alexis Mateo (Season 3)

Alexis Mateo

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Alexis Mateo became a finalist in the third season of Drag Race after also winning three challenges. Alas, Mateo had to lip sync for her life three times, which put her at a big disadvantage.

Manila Luzon (Season 3)

Manila Luzon

Logo TV

Manila Luzon had the exact same track record as Raja in the competition: three maxi challenge wins and one bottom placement. In the end, though, Luzon was the runner-up of season three.

Sharon Needles (Season 4 Winner)

Sharon Needles

Logo TV

The winner of season four, Sharon Needles, became the first queen in Drag Race herstory to win four maxi challenges during a singular season. Needles only lip synced for her life once, against Phi Phi O’Hara, but their lip sync was void due to Willam’s disqualification from the show.

Chad Michaels (Season 4)

Chad Michaels

Logo TV

Chad Michaels won two maxi challenges on season four and only landed in the bottom two once, which was a pretty solid track record for a finalist.

Phi Phi O’Hara (Season 4)

Phi Phi O\u2019Hara

Logo TV

Largely considered the “villain of the season” by viewers, Phi Phi O’Hara still fought her way to the grand finale. In the competition, O’Hara won two maxi challenges and only had one bottom placement.

Jinkx Monsoon (Season 5 Winner)

Jinkx Monsoon

Logo TV

Jinkx Monsoon won the coveted Snatch Game as well as an acting challenge during season five of Drag Race. Besides those two maxi challenge wins, the Seattle queen lip synced for her life once, against Detox, right before the finale – where Monsoon was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar.

Alaska (Season 5)


Logo TV

Alaska never had to lip sync for her life on season five. In turn, she won two maxi challenges in the competition. Despite being a strong contender for the crown, Monsoon had a significantly stronger story and fan-favoritism on the show.

Roxxxy Andrews (Season 5)

Roxxxy Andrews

Logo TV

Like Monsoon, Roxxxy Andrews also got to the finale of Drag Race season five with two maxi challenge wins and a single bottom placement. And yet, it seemed pretty clear that this wasn’t Andrews’ year given the “villain” edit that she was given.

Bianca Del Rio (Season 6 Winner)

Bianca Del Rio

Logo TV

Bianca Del Rio absolutely steamrolled the competition on season six, which turned her into the first-ever New York City winner of Drag Race. In total, Del Rio won three maxi challenges and never had to lip sync for her life.

Adore Delano (Season 6)

Adore Delano

Logo TV

Adore Delano clawed her way to the top of season six after lip syncing twice on the show and winning three maxi challenges. Throughout the competition, Delano won a rapping challenge, a branding challenge, and a design challenge.

Courtney Act (Season 6)

Courtney Act

Logo TV

Without having to lip sync for her life at any point on season six, Courtney Act was another strong contender for the crown. The Australian superstar also won two maxi challenges on Drag Race, proving how talented and polished she’s always been.

Violet Chachki (Season 7 Winner)

Violet Chachki

Logo TV

Not a lot of viewers could foresee that Violet Chachki would go on to win season seven of Drag Race, but she was indeed crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar in the end. Chacki’s solid performance in the competition included three maxi challenge wins and zero lip syncs for her life, which equaled Sanchez’s and Del Rio’s track records in past seasons.

Ginger Minj (Season 7)

Ginger Minj

Logo TV

Ginger Minj also won three maxi challenges on Drag Race season seven, but she landed in the bottom two twice. There’s no denying that those bottom placements put her at a disadvantage despite being a finalist in the season.

Pearl (Season 7)


Logo TV

It was a roller-coaster ride for Pearl to get to the finale of season seven. Overall, that journey included two maxi challenge wins and two lip syncs for her life, having sent home queens like Trixie Mattel and Miss Fame.

Bob the Drag Queen (Season 8 Winner)

Bob the Drag Queen

Logo TV

Bob the Drag Queen was the season eight frontrunner throughout the entire competition. In total, Bob won three maxi challenges: an acting challenge, the Snatch Game, and a branding challenge about political campaigns. On the flip side, Bob only lip synced for her life once.

Kim Chi (Season 8)

Kim Chi

Logo TV

With two maxi challenge wins and no bottom placements, Kim Chi got to the grand finale of Drag Race season eight with a very solid track record. Nonetheless, Bob just felt like a stronger contender to become America’s Next Drag Superstar, which meant that this wasn’t Chi’s year.

Naomi Smalls (Season 8)

Naomi Smalls

Logo TV

The judges largely saw Naomi Smalls as a “runway queen,” despite her best attempts at proving them wrong time and time again. Over the course of season eight, Smalls won one maxi challenge and lip synced for her life once, sending Acid Betty home.

Sasha Velour (Season 9 Winner)

Sasha Velour


Sasha Velour was one of the fan-favorites of Drag Race season nine, but with just two maxi challenge wins, she didn’t exactly have the strongest track record of the competition. And yet, the introduction of the lip sync for the crown smackdown gave us Velour’s iconic rose petal reveal, which solidified her as America’s Next Drag Superstar.

Peppermint (Season 9)



Peppermint won a maxi challenge on Drag Race and lip synced for her life two times, sending home Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Alexis Michelle. Though she was considered an underdog in terms of track record, Peppermint made it to the first-ever top-four finale in Drag Race herstory.

Shea Couleé (Season 9)

Shea Coulee


With four maxi challenge wins and only one bottom placement, Shea Couleé had the absolute strongest track record of Drag Race season nine. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to gag the judges and the fans with her lip sync performance at the finale, which ended up giving Velour the edge to snatch the crown.

Trinity the Tuck (Season 9)

Trinity the Tuck


In technical terms, Trinity the Tuck also had a stronger track record than Velour on season nine. Trinity won three maxi challenges during that season, and her sole lip sync for her life was the absolute obliteration of Charlie Hides. Much like Couleé, however, Trinity got outperformed by Peppermint at the finale.

Aquaria (Season 10 Winner)



Aquaria won three maxi challenges and never landed in the bottom two. That track record, plus her storyline as a queen who grew up on Drag Race, justified her title as the winner of season 10.

Asia O’Hara (Season 10)

Asia O\u2019Hara


A huge fan-favorite throughout the entirety of Drag Race season 10, Asia O’Hara unfortunately fumbled her “butterfly reveal” performance at the finale. Alas, O’Hara did win two maxi challenges and only landed in the bottom once, making her a strong finalist in the competition.

Eureka (Season 10)



Eureka won two maxi challenges and also lip synced for her life twice, so her track record was pretty evened out going into the finale of season 10.

Kameron Michaels (Season 10)

Kameron Michaels


Kameron Michaels secured a spot at the Drag Race season 10 finale after winning one maxi challenge and lip syncing for her life three times. Kameron tied a lip sync with Eureka and then sent home Monét X Change and Miz Cracker, which was very impressive.

Yvie Oddly (Season 11 Winner)

Yvie Oddly


Despite only winning one maxi challenge, Yvie Oddly had a very impressive overall performance throughout season 11 of Drag Race. Even her singular bottom two placement turned into the legendary “Sorry Not Sorry” lip sync against Brooke Lynn Hytes, which basically felt like another challenge win for Oddly. In the end, she was the deservedly crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar by Mama Ru.

A’Keria C. Davenport (Season 11)

A\u2019Keria C. Davenport


A’Keria C. Davenport won two challenges in season 11 and had to lip sync for her life twice before getting to the finale. In the competition, A’Keria first sent home Honey Davenport in the gag-worthy six-way lip sync for your life that followed the “Diva Worship” challenge, then eliminated Ra’Jah O’Hara a few episodes later.

Brooke Lynn Hytes (Season 11)

Brooke Lynn Hytes


Brooke Lynn Hytes had a strong track record among the season 11 finalists, with three maxi challenge wins and two bottom placements. However, she ultimately didn’t win the lip sync for the crown against Yvie Oddly and finished as the runner-up of the season.

Silky Nutmeg Ganache (Season 11)

Silky Nutmeg Ganache


After a very chaotic journey in season 11, Silky Nutmeg Ganache made it to the grand finale with her undeniable charisma, veteran drag experience, and bigger-than-life personality. Though the judges certainly loved Ganache, season 11 was ultimately not her year to snatch the crown.

Jaida Essence Hall (Season 12 Winner)

Jaida Essence Hall


The finale of Drag Race season 12 was entirely filmed on Zoom as a result of new measures from the 2020 lockdown. After winning three maxi challenges and only placing in the bottom once, Jaida Essence Hall snatched the crown with a lip sync filmed in her very own living room.

Crystal Methyd (Season 12)

Crystal Methyd


Crystal Methyd was an underdog throughout season 12, but her ascension eventually landed her a spot in the grand finale. In the competition, Methyd won one maxi challenge and lip synced for her life once, sending Jackie Cox home right before the finale.

Gigi Goode (Season 12)

Gigi Goode


One of the most spotless track records in Drag Race herstory came from Gigi Goode, who was a finalist on Drag Race season 12 after winning four maxi challenges and never landing in the bottom.

Symone (Season 13 Winner)



Symone won four maxi challenges over the course of season 13, and also lip synced for her life twice. During her journey to become America’s Next Drag Superstar, Symone won a performance challenge, an acting challenge, a branding challenge, and a makeover challenge.

Gottmik (Season 13)



Without any bottom placements throughout Drag Race season 13, Gottmik managed to win two maxi challenges on the show – making it all the way to the grand finale.

Kandy Muse (Season 13)

Kandy Muse


Kandy Muse won a maxi challenge and had to lip sync for her life three times. Overall, Muse sent home Tamisha Iman and Olivia Lux, and was saved by RuPaul after losing a lip sync to Symone during the competition.

Rosé (Season 13)



Rosé also got to the season 13 finale without placing in the bottom even once. In turn, this New York City queen won three maxi challenges on the show.

Willow Pill (Season 14 Winner)

Willow Pill


Willow Pill won the ball challenge of Drag Race season 14 and placed high several other weeks over the course of the season. On the other hand, Pill had two bottom placements that season: once for the Snatch Game (where, with the exception of DeJa Skye, the entire cast was in the bottom), then again for the rumix challenge.

Angeria Paris VanMicheals (Season 14)

Angeria Paris VanMicheals


With two maxi wins and two bottom placements, Angeria Paris VanMicheals’ track record was evened out as she arrived at the grand finale of season 14.

Bosco (Season 14)



Bosco had a truly wild trajectory in season 14 that included three maxi challenge wins and two lip syncs for her life. She lost one of those lip syncs and was officially eliminated, but was then saved by the “chocolate bar” twist of the season. Bosco then went on to become a Drag Race finalist.

Daya Betty (Season 14)

Daya Betty


Daya Betty was effectively eliminated in the second episode of Drag Race season 14, but was brought back to the competition during episode three along with Orion Story. In total, Betty’s Drag Race track record included one maxi challenge and three lip syncs for her life.

Lady Camden (Season 14)

Lady Camden


After winning three maxi challenges and only landing in the bottom once – as a result of the catastrophic season 14 Snatch game – Lady Camden got to the Drag Race finale with arguably the strongest track record within the cast.

Anetra (Season 15)



Anetra walked that f*cking duck to the finale of Drag Race season 15 after winning three challenges and having two bottom placements. Anetra’s maxi wins included the Variety Show, the Rusical, and the makeover challenge.

Luxx Noir London (Season 15)

Luxx Noir London


Despite having to lip sync for her life once, Luxx Noir London won two maxi challenges and had a high placement throughout most of season 15. Ultimately, Luxx fought hard to guarantee her spot at the finale.

Mistress Isabelle Brooks (Season 15)

Mistress Isabelle Brooks


Mistress Isabelle Brooks only landed in the bottom once, lip syncing against Anetra right before the finale. In turn, she won the “Daytona Wind 2” acting challenge. As one of the ultimate fan-favorites all season long, Brooks earned a well-deserved spot at the Drag Race finale.

Sasha Colby (Season 15)

Sasha Colby


Sasha Colby entered Drag Race season 15 as a well-established drag legend, and she did not disappoint in the competition. After winning four maxi challenges and never landing in the bottom, Colby collected yet another title to her resumé: Drag Race finalist.

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Young people organize D.C. transgender rights march

Young people organize D.C. transgender rights march

Upwards of 1,000 people on Friday participated in a transgender rights march from Union Station to the U.S. Capitol.

SMYAL Executive Director Erin Whelan; Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson and Japer Bowles, director of the D.C. Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, are among those who participated in the March for Queer and Trans Youth Autonomy that Queer Youth Assemble organized to coincide with the Transgender Day of Visibility. 

Queer Youth Assemble advocates for young LGBTQ and intersex people. The group’s website notes it organized Transgender Day of Visibility marches across the country on Friday.

“This march has reached so many people around the country because of our strength as individuals and as a community,” said Queer Youth Assemble Co-president Alia Cusolito at the beginning of a rally that took place in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool after the march. “This is a heavy time. It’s a frightening time and a necessary time to speak up.” 

Samira Burnside, a 16-year-old trans woman from Tampa, Fla., spoke after Cusolito.

“These last few months have been hard; hard for all of us,” said Burnside. “As Republicans swept into more seats than they held last year and another election cycle begins, transgenderism has become the battleground through which the cultural war finds itself reborn, more violent, more angry, more terrible.”

Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth Executive Director Shaplaie Brooks noted “these attacks are strategic.”

“Grown adults are bullying LGBTQ youth,” said Brooks.

Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth Executive Director Shaplaie Brooks speaks at the March for Queer and Trans Youth Autonomy in D.C. on March 31, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

This year’s Transgender Day of Visibility took place against the backdrop of a proliferation of anti-transgender bills and laws in states across the country.

Kentucky lawmakers on Wednesday overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of a bill that will, among other things, ban gender-affirming medical care for trans and nonbinary people who are under 18. Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in February signed a similar measure into law. 

“Transgender Americans deserve to be safe and supported in every community — but today, across our country, MAGA extremists are advancing hundreds of hateful and extreme state laws that target transgender kids and their families. No one should have to be brave just to be themselves,” said President Joe Biden on Friday in his Transgender Day of Visibility statement.

“Let me be clear: These attacks are un-American and must end,” he added. “The bullying, discrimination, and political attacks that trans kids face have exacerbated our national mental health crisis. More than half of transgender youth say they have seriously considered suicide. Loving parents are terrified for their children’s futures.”

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Friday became the state’s first governor to publicly commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility.

“People who have the courage to demand visibility, even after facing hardship — in some cases, after facing violence and poverty — they represent the very best of Maryland. We need to elevate their stories, embrace their courage, and celebrate their humanity,” he said before he signed a proclamation that proclaimed March 31, 2023, as International Transgender Day of Visibility in Maryland. “By signing this proclamation, we are taking a step forward. And I look forward to working with all of you to continue that march in the years to come.”

U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday reintroduced the Transgender Bill of Rights, which a press release from Jayapal’s office notes would provide “a comprehensive policy framework to provide protections for transgender and nonbinary people, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their gender identity or expression.”

“As the very proud mother of an incredible trans daughter, I am deeply disturbed by the rise in anti-trans legislation at all levels of government and at the uptick of transphobic violence,” said Jayapal on Friday during a virtual Transgender Day of Visibility town hall.

Jacobs, who represents California’s 51st Congressional District, noted her brother is trans and another sibling is gender non-conforming.

The California Democrat said “one of the proudest moments of my life” was when she officiated her brother’s wedding late last year. Jacobs noted it took place the same week that Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act. 

“His existence deserves to be recognized and respected, his wedding deserves to be celebrated,” said Jacobs, referring to her brother. “His life deserves to be protected, just like every other person and every other trans person.”

Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride, Whitman-Walker Institute Kellan Baker, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Rigo Heng-Lehtinen and Athlete Ally Ambassador Kaiya McCullough are among those who also participated in the town hall.

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Stormy Daniels: ‘I’m not afraid of testifying – nothing could be scarier than seeing Donald Trump naked!’

Stormy Daniels: ‘I’m not afraid of testifying – nothing could be scarier than seeing Donald Trump naked!’

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Stormy Daniels insists she’s not frightened of facing Donald Trump in court as nothing could be “scarier” than seeing him naked.

The ex-porn star, 44, who is at the centre of the former US president’s historic indictment, also warned the legal action against the 76-year-old could ignite “death and destruction”, and told how it has led to her being targeted with a wave of fresh death threats over her links to him.

Referring to Trump’s infamous “grab ’em by the p****’ scandal, she told The Times newspaper about him facing criminal charges showing no one is “untouchable”: “No matter what your job or bank account says, you’re held accountable for what you’ve said and done, and justice is served.

“It’s vindication. But it’s bittersweet. He’s done so much worse that he should have been taken down (for) before.

“I am fully aware of the insanity of it being a porn star. But it’s also poetic; this p**** grabbed back.”

She added about being unafraid of the prospect of facing Trump in court: “I’ve seen him naked. There’s no way he could be scarier with his clothes on.”

Opening up about the new death threats she has received since Trump’s indictment on Thursday (30.03.23), she said: “The number and the intensity is the same as it was the first time around, but this time it’s straight-up violent.

“The first time it was ‘gold digger’, ‘s***’, ‘whore’, ‘liar’, whatever.

“And this time it’s, ‘I’m gonna murder you.’ They’re way more violent and graphic.

“I’m not afraid of him, or of the government, but it just takes one crazy supporter who thinks they’re doing God’s work or protecting democracy… you don’t want blood in the water. It kind of encourages the sharks… it’s especially scary because Trump himself is inciting violence and encouraging it.”

She added about being fearless over being asked to testify against Trump: “I hope that I do have to. I’m not afraid, I have nothing to hide, and I look forward to telling everybody what I know.”

Stormy – born Stephanie Gregory Clifford – also hailed his indictment as “monumental” and “epic”, adding: “He’s already gotten away with inciting a riot, and causing death and destruction. “Whatever the outcome is, it’s going to cause violence, and there’s going to be injuries and death.”

Trump’s lawyer says the scandal plagued businessman – the first ex-US president to be indicted in history – will not be handcuffed when he’s arrested on Tuesday (04.03.23) on what is thought to be around 30 charges, but he could face fingerprinting and a mugshot.

His attorney Joe Tacopina confirmed the no-cuffs deal had been struck between Trump’s legal team and prosecutors in Manhattan, where the former US commander-in-chief will surrender to authorities after a grand jury voted he should face criminal charges over a $130,000 hush money payment to former porn star Stormy during the 2016 presidential race.

Stormy claims she had a fling with Trump in 2006.

He denies they had an affair and has called it a “witch hunt”, but has admitted directing his then lawyer Michael Cohen, 56, to pay Daniels $130,000 for her silence.

The adult star claimed Cohen deployed “intimidation and coercive tactics” to get her to sign on to the statement denying her affair with Trump.

Cohen told a federal court in Manhattan Trump directed him to make the payments, and was eventually sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges stemming from his part in the payments.

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National LGBTQ Task Force Launches 'Movement Moments' Podcast

National LGBTQ Task Force Launches 'Movement Moments' Podcast

The National LGBTQ Task Force — the country’s oldest LGBTQ advocacy organization — Friday launched a new limited podcast series in honor of its 50th anniversary.

Movement Moments: The National LGBTQ Task Force at 50 will consist of six episodes and feature deep discussion on issues facing the LGBTQ+ community today, including attacks on the trans community and the role of faith in the movement, while also reflecting on key moments throughout Task Force history.

The anniversary comes as legislative attacks on the trans community, particularly at the state and local level, are reaching all-time highs. In the opening episode, which debuted Friday, best-selling author ALOK and TransLash Media founder Imara Jones discuss current realities for trans and nonbinary people in America on International Transgender Day of Visibility. You can listen to the episode wherever you get your podcasts or at this link.

“Our deep history of activism alongside our trans family guides us as we fight forces who would refuse the right to their very existence,” Kierra Johnson, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a press release. “We can’t stop at visibility, we need to take action. In this episode, we are so proud to highlight the voices of two visionaries, ALOK and Imara Jones, who are doing just that.”

Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated annually on March 31, is a day to honor trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people around the world. In Movement Moments, ALOK and Jones discuss both the importance and the limitations of visibility, and how we need to prioritize action to drive progress for trans people in the U.S.

“I’m not sure that visibility worked out for us the way we thought it would,” ALOK said. “We were promised that if we became more visible then there would be more control of rights and recognition, but in fact there’s just been more retaliation, and we’re dealing with some of the most extreme and vehement pushback ever.”

But ALOK remains cautiously optimistic. “I’m into this thing called ‘hope, I guess,’” they said. “And it’s important the record says ‘hope, I guess,’ not just hope.”

In the episode, Jones talked about the power of storytelling, saying, “When I became a journalist, I began to move towards my own gender identity, to remove the calcified layers that I had developed to survive and the limitations that society put on me, mainly through the stories that they told about people like me. As I began to remove those, I understood the power that I had in combining my own personal experience with the power of storytelling to be able to move and shape the world around me.”

New episodes of Movement Moments will be released each month, with upcoming guests including Rev. Nicole Garcia, Mandy Carter, Joe Zuniga, Tanya Domi, and Task Force CEO Kierra Johnson.

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Providers urge state to keep 340B drug discount program intact

Providers urge state to keep 340B drug discount program intact

A crowd of advocates and lawmakers gathered at Governor Kathy Hochul’s Manhattan office on March 31 to protest the state’s plan to overhaul a drug discount program that has allowed non-profit providers and safety net hospitals in the state to save money on medication and redirect resources to other areas of need.

The protest marked the latest in a series of demonstrations led by non-profit groups and health providers — many of which serve LGBTQ individuals and people living with HIV — over the looming threats to what is known as the federal 340B program, a drug discount initiative that requires drugmakers to give medication to certain providers at discounted rates.

Under the 340 program, pharmaceutical companies participating in Medicaid sell discounted drugs to managed care providers, and those providers, in turn, save money, get reimbursed by the federal government, and redirect those funds to educational initiatives, transportation costs, and other health and wellness-related services for clients.

The precarious state of 340B funding has been evident over the last several years as the state has weighed changes to the program — first under former Governor Andrew Cuomo and now under the Hochul administration. Advocates have succeeded in delaying the cuts in recent years, but now, with the state budget in the final stretch, advocates are again warning of disaster if the changes are implemented.

“Governor Hochul tells us that addressing health equity and improving access to care for the LGBTQIA+ community and communities of color are priorities,” said Jacqui Kilmer, the chief executive officer of Harlem United, which provides healthcare, housing, prevention, and supportive services to New Yorkers. “But actions speak louder than words, and that simply cannot be true if the Governor allows this ill-conceived carve-out to go through. Millions of New Yorkers across the state will be the losers. The time is now, Governor Hochul: Do the right thing and stop the carve-out now.”

Advocates who rallied on March 31 warned that changes to life-saving care and wraparound services — including food, housing, transportation, and medication management — will have a negative impact on 2.3 million people in New York State. The state is vowing to move ahead with a different pharmacy benefit program, NYRx, which the Hochul administration insists would actually boost funding for the many non-profit organizations and hospitals that have warned that the changes will significantly slash funding.

“Under the new model, the Medicaid program will pay pharmacy costs directly, removing middlemen such as pharmacy benefit managers,” State Medicaid Director Amir Bassiri wrote in a March 30 op-ed in the Buffalo News. “The new process will create transparency in reimbursements to pharmacies, leverage the state’s purchasing power to negotiate with drug manufacturers, and streamline practitioner administration.”

In the meantime, State Senator Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx has introduced Senate Bill S5136, which is viewed as a compromise to the 340B carve-out. The legislation, which is currently in the Health Committee, has drawn more than a dozen co-sponsors, including out State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal of Manhattan.

The culmination of the state budget process has coincided with 340B rallies in different parts of the state, including Albany, where advocates held a die-in earlier in the week alongside State Senator Robert Jackson of the Bronx and Manhattan. The March 31 demonstration in Manhattan brought support from members of the City Council, including out Health Committee Chair Lynn Schulman. 

“Healthcare is a human right, but not when you can’t afford it,” Schulman said in a written statement. “Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act is a lifeline for uninsured and vulnerable patients, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. I urge the Governor and Legislature to include a compromise plan in the state budget that ensures the health of all New Yorkers is not compromised.”

Providers known for serving LGBTQ individuals, such as Housing Works, Harlem United, Alliance for Positive Change and Callen-Lorde, are weighing whether to boycott New York City Pride in June if the governor proceeds with the 340B carve-out. Buffalo Pride has already signaled to the governor that she is not welcome at Buffalo’s Pride festivities. 

Another key development out of Buffalo emerged recently when Evergreen, which is a safety net provider serving 24,000 people in that part of New York State, sought to resist the forthcoming change by filing a lawsuit alongside Heritage Health and Housing, which runs a Harlem-based health center to more than 5,500 patients.

“Although the Department of Health claims that it seeks to promote health equity and reduce health disparities, by pressing forward with the ‘carve-out,’ an ill-conceived relic of the Cuomo era, it will only serve to increase those disparities,” Sandra Gale, Heritage’s chief executive officer and general counsel, said in a written statement. 

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Equalpride's Commitment to the Resilient, Inspiring Trans Community

Equalpride's Commitment to the Resilient, Inspiring Trans Community

As we come together today to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility, I want to take a moment to express my support for the transgender community and to reiterate equalpride’s family of brands unwavering commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable world for all.

Recent times have seen an unfortunate surge in anti-trans legislation and rhetoric, which has left a deep impact on transgender individuals and their loved ones. It is my duty and honor to stand alongside our transgender family, friends, and colleagues, and to acknowledge their strength, resilience, and courage in the face of adversity.

Despite these challenges, I am confident that together, we can forge a brighter future for the transgender community and all those who are marginalized. I believe that it is through our collective efforts that we can break down the barriers of prejudice, discrimination, and misunderstanding that have for too long stifled the potential of so many.

At equalpride, we will continue to advocate for the rights of transgender individuals and work tirelessly to promote understanding, acceptance, and inclusion both within our organization and the wider community. We celebrate the rich tapestry of gender identities that make our world a more vibrant and beautiful place.

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, let us pledge to support one another, to uplift and empower the transgender community, and to create a world where everyone can live authentically, free from fear and discrimination.

Mark Berryhill is CEO of equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, Pride.com, and founder of The Advocate Channel. Follow Mark on Instagram @advocatemarkb.

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